tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 17, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT
down, the white house defense goes up. >> i stand with the president. >> and ceos run away en masse. >> his spirited defense of racism and bigotry. that's an unamerican value. >> tonight, inside the halls of power and inside his own party. who is standing by trump and why? >> we're talking about infrastructure today. >> nazis. >> and about those very fine people. >> you also had people that were very fine people. on both sides. >> what we're learning about the white nationalist who's descended on charlottesville. >> i just came for the fun. >> i'm sorry. you can't just take your costume off. "all in" starts now.
>> good evening from new york. a day after the president of the united states defended the white house nationalist rally in charlottesville, pressure is building on officials to take a stand as the nation's business leaders flee association with this president. what started as a trickle earlier this week turned into a flood following the president's comments yesterday. with more and more ceos abandoning his manufacturing advisory panel. this morning, they decided to disband all together. a major blow to a president who ran on his supposed business credentials. according to the "wall street journal," steven schwartzman who led the strategic and policy forum phoned the president today to inform him the group was being disbanded. trump being trump, he rushed to twitter to claim he dumped them first. tweeting, rather than putting pressure onner the business people, i'm ending both. yesterday amid growing
defections, he was downright braggadocious saying i have many to take their place. initially the white house and others, saying the president was entirely correct. the white house held a conference call for surrogates, hosted by presidential aide steven miller. the vice president traveling in south america said that he stands by the president. >> what happened in charlottesville was a tragedy. and the president has been clear on this tragedy and so have i. i spoke at length about this heart situation on sunday night. in colombia. and i stand with the president and i stand by those words. and while a handful of republican officials have publicly condemned trump's performance, the party leaders in congress declined to call him out by name.
instead releasing vague statements denouncing racism and hate groups. he waited four days. now as the public has stood by the neo-nazis and klansmen, we've reached a moment of truth for senior officials, especially those who are jewish or people of color, some of whom were at his side when he said this. >> mud is very bad people in that group. but you had people were very fine people. on both sides. you had many people. in group other than neo-nazis and white nationalists. and the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. >> yeah. later, yahoo! news reporter tried ask the transportation secretary elaine chow who happens to be senator mcconnell's wife, and gary cohen for a response. >> as a woman of color, and you as jewish man, what do you think
about are pruch's reaction? >> well, the president has made a statement saying it is intolerable, we are a country of tolerance, and it is hateful behavior and -- >> does it bother either of you to see nazis supporting this administration? >> we're talking about infrastructure. >> well, according to the "new york times," cohen was described by people close to him as disgusted and deeply offended by the president's remarks but has yet to comment publicly. he joining me as someone extremely well sourced, stephanie, and tara, democratic strategist and a genuine trump expert from days working with him on "the apprentice." some trump whisperers here. >> the good 90s speaking out against nazis are bankers, and the bad guys are elected officials.
>> it's interesting. you saw these company, we can put up a list of them that started to walk away. even jamie dimon walked away. weren't they all going to go? >> they were all going. collectively they had a call at 11:30 morning steve schwartzman read. they had their statement ready to go. steve schwartzman called the white house to speak to jared kushner and jared was expecting the call of the they said it is enough for us. it was not just this one specific event. realize what they've had to endure. the paris accord. the travel ban. the transgender issue. it is not their day job. they have on deal with their employees, their spouses, their shareholders. on monday, they accepted the president's kind of improved statement. finally last night were the wheels came off, they said enough is enough. i'm not going to make an excuse for you.
you mentioned jaily dimon. think about what is at stake for him. deregulation and. at a benefits? this could be a multi-billion dollar benefit for their bank and still it is not worth it. >> and it is obviously different for business leaders than politicians. they do have shareholders and they can get public pressure, boycotts, et cetera. >> that's the two words. the pressure began before this. the pressure began when some of they will first joined the council. the ceo was looking for an exit strategy. he was looking for a way out. so it made it easier for everyone else to follow behind. let's not forget, elon musk stepped out. the ceo of disney as well. and they've been under a lot of pressure from these public
groups in terms of their consumers. at the end of the day, you have products to sell to people. and trump's brand, he is known as such a great brand. but it has become radioactive for all of these ceos. and remember, i have in the governor's office. i was appointments director so i know how it works. they want access. >> hold on. if the walmart ceo, the largest employer in the country, cannot get meetings with senior official in the government, then there's a problem with our government. you shouldn't have to sit on a council like this. >> so you have steve bannon who was actually giddy. he loved what happened. >> this was jared's baby. this was their big event. they love the photo opportunities. they said we weren't getting anything done. for steve to say, jared and all
the rich new yorkersest loves it. they hate the bankers, they hate jared and ivanka. this is a certain they'll to the people they don't like. so ivanka tried to come out and say we're on vacation. >> they're on vacation. they're always on vacation when there's a controversy. >> her dad has a phone. that's what he tweets on. >> at this point does donald trump care more about his business he brand or the bannon brand? >> at the end of the day, all donald trump has left is that part of base that likes those things that he's saying. all he has left is the part of the base that thought the statement that he made when everything went -- as you said, the wheels went off the train, that's all that's left. he will continue to paneleder to
them. he is he wrapping them up in them. the more isolated he is, the stronger he will cling to them. the accolades and the attention. the problem for him, the republican party, those people are people at a minimum. supportive of racism and a maximum, overtly racism. >> at the end of the day, it is not about who donald trump hates. it is about who loves donald trump. he wants to advance himself. >> i'll throw this to you first. why would the business interests who wanted donald trump to win. >> some. a small percent an. they didn't have a horse in the race. they play games of probabilities and statistics. dwhe, wow, tax breaks, wow, he's
dangerous. i'll going to get in line here. his tweets, they matter a whole heck of a lot less now. >> do you think he gets that he's toxic? >> i don't think he fully understand. but the only people standing behind him are those people he was speaking to were those people who he said they were very fine people. right now he understands he is not as popular as he would like to be. i don't buy that he's stupid. i think he just doesn't have a sense of how radioactive he's become. >> but many of those who voted for him were forgotten americans. had they want health reform. >> but he's hate tweeting the gop. that won't work.
love the pink. i am joined by two former veterans he of the ethics director who resign in the protest last month, and daniel free, the former he diplomat who rebuked trump upon his retirement in february. it is all over twitter and social media. should people in the trump administration, who still have something of a reputation left, stay or quit? >> well, this is a very difficult moment in history. we saw we saw the president's remarks. this was part of departure from civic norms. things as simple as, you should oppose nazis. that's as basic as it comes, have gone by the wayside. now it is anything goes. it is hard to predict what will happen next.
it was the same when we saw the ethical norms in the government. it is a subcategory of this larger category. civic norms being deported from. i left. i won't judge people who don't leave. if they're career officials and others where they think they're making a difference. i reached the point where they were shutting us down right and left and there wasn't more i could achieve. but you ought to at least speak out when you have the opportunity. when i see elaine chao standing next to the president as he is saying these shocking and smiling, i just thought you are completely complicit. >> the staff was disheartened because donald trump was saying in public the things they heard in private. which is the damming of the staffers.
and then when you have people, and i'm not saying that daniel is one of those who knew what trump was about, but this was the varks secretary. somebody with great responsibility, talking about it in public. and by the way, he's jewish. >> will you assistant by and agree the comments he made yesterday at trump tower in. >> well, while i do serve the president as the secretary, i think i don't speak for the president. i think the president has done a good job speaking for himself. >> did you see that there was bad on both sides? >> i am not going to, in any way condone the beliefs or the practices of white supremacistists or nazis.
i didn't look at the tapes in order to make equal comments. >> is there a crisis in the moral conscious of people willing to stand by this president? >> i think government officials are in a pretty tough position right now. i was in the foreign service for 40 years. one of my rules was, you have to speak the truth. it doesn't have to be everything you're thinking. but you have to stand by it and you have to mean it. in auation like, this senior officials need on find language which preserves their integrity. we all take an oath to defend the constitution. that principle makes us who we are, it makes us americans. we have to find a way in situations like the to stand up
for that principle. people have to up their game in a situation like this. >> there are two sides. on the one hand, people will say if all the decent people leave, god knows what trump would replace them with. at the same time, if you have "the new york times" saying people on the staff, if they knew that donald trump harbored these views, favorable to the white nationalists, how could anyone of good conscience stay in the government? the how could you do anything but resign? >> well, i think speaking the truth is incredibly important. i boring at the v.a. i know how much the tens of millions of veterans are counting on him to protect their welfare and their interests.
to have him as the representative of a 330,000 employee agency serving tens of millions of veterans equivocating whether nazis are bad. the feds staying in their jobs because they feel like they are making a difference. again, i left only after i tried everything else and decided i wouldn't be able to do more. >> if a friend of yours said i've been offered a position in the trump administration, some other administrative post, would you advise them to take job? >> people did ask me exactly that question. what i said was do your best. serve the country and your constitution. it is harder now.
and i think much depends on the job. the closer you get to the president, the harder it will be. because it seems that this president dirties people close to him. that's a terrible thing for me to think and say about the president of the united states. i think our colleagues should stay and keep their oath and remember that oath is important. robert e. lee, the statue, whose statue started all of this. he broke his oath to his country so he could defend slavery. those in government need to keep their oath so they can defend their principles. it is just harder now. >> thank you both. thank you for your time.
in stark contrast to statements from the president, five military commanders have all forcefully and denounced the hatred on display this weekend in charlottesville. the chief of naval operations said the navy will forestand against intolerance and hatred. for those on our team, we want our navy to be the safest possible place. a team as strong and tough as we can be, saving violence only for our enemies. the marine corps commandant responding that a mash veteran may have been one of the leaders of a white nationalist group at the charlottesville rally wrote that there was no place for racial hatred or extremism in
the united states marine corps. our core values of courage, honor and commitment frame way marines live and act. this morning three other heads of staff expressed their solidarity and denounced racism and extremism. five extraordinary sframts five joint chiefs of staff all carrying a distinctly different tone from their commander in chief. colonel lawrence wilkerson was under general powell. always lifelong republican and has been a vehement critic of this president. thank you for being here. >> so let's talk about some of these responses. you had, let's start with admiral john richardson. he said there statement about the navy about intolerance and hatred. you had the marine corps commandant comment. what do you think about these gentlemen making such markedly
different sframts their commander in chief? >> well, they had to. with the standards of being serving military officers. it is too dangerous to contemplate, letting this get out of hand. i had to go back through my speeshls because i was searching for some with regard to this. i found my statement at the state department when i was preparing the secretary of state, colin powell, to present the now nefarious presentation at the security council in 2008. i wrote it out. i put it in my center drawer. i took it out the look at it. the only reason i didn't leave, i was serving one of the men who i thought had the strongest caring, the most noble character, to use that anachronistic word in the u.s. government. that's the reason i didn't leave. i really feel for people serving this commander in chief. he is precisely the opposite.
>> and speaking of that, a lot of people felt colin powell was badly used by the bush administration because of his values of loyalty that he was willing, dick cheney said you've got high approval ratings. you can spend some of on it this war we want to have. when you look back, do you think maybe he should have resigned? should they now, should they resign? >> that's a very difficult question to answer. i first would say that bush and cheney would have gone to war. whether colin powell stayed or not. whoever replaced him would have been an advocate of that war, too. had i left, i would sleep better. the situation now, it is quite different. you have mattis at defense.
kelly, chief of staff, mcmaster, these are three of the key positions in the u.s. national security establishment. they're leaving in expectation that someone who more agreed with donald trump would replace them, has got to present them with this. i would not want to be in their positions. >> there are a lot of people grappling with this duiality. wait a minute. we're counting on military generals to protect us. a lot of people feel the threat of a president who is erratic. we're a civilian led government. >> quite ironic. >> you go back and look at the end of the roam an empire, the end of any empire based on military power and you see that this is kind of what starts to happen toward the end. they begin to rely increasingly
on the military. it becomes the only instrument they can depend on. it becomes their personal instrument nm cases. certainly in rome's case. and you get a situation where that's the fact of your governance. not a very good development for a state that pretends, at least, that pretends to be a republic like our own. >> i want to go back to some of these statements. the earl, the army doesn't tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks. it's against our values and everything we've stood for since 1775. and this general saying, i stand with my fellow serving chiefs. >> those are all today. do you take those statements as rebukes of the commander in
chief? >> not directly. but certainly indirectly they are. and i understand why they're doing. this you have a bond in the fox hole, as it were. that is sacrosanct. if you start something like this in the ranks, you are going to destroy the armed forces of the united states. so i don't fault them at all. yes, it is an indirect rebuke of their own commander in chief. >> is there a risk of doing that? >> there's a risk but i don't think this president has nearly the guts that some people attribute to him. i think he'll be extremely reluctant to take on the military. in is both a danger and a help. i don't think that instrument of national power will be challenged by donald trump in the way others are apparently going to be. >> and lastly, i want to get your take only press conference that donald trump had as a lifelong republican.
what was your reaction? >> you know, i've said in the past that my party, my republican party has racists all over it. ever since nixon's southern strategy, we invited all the democrats into the ranks of the republican party, we've had that element to deal with. now we're seeing with dealing with that element has done to the republican party. now it is responsibility in many ways for donald trump. and yet, it doesn't know how to possess him or to disown him. it is stuck with him and it will deal with that. i'm afraid at the end of. time, we may see this party having committed suicide. >> wow! mincing no words. thank you for your time. up next, we're learning more about those very fine people of president trump described at saturday's protest. and it's not pretty.
you had some very bad people in that group. but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. >> among the many bizarre statements donald trump made yesterday, that amidst the white nationalists, the kkk and others, on saturday, there were some very fine people. some of those white nationalists were eager to make their own case. take white nationalist christopher cantwell, for instance. he sat down with the reporter on friday afternoon. after saying the deaths of traem, michael brown and tamir rice were an example of black people behaving like a savage, he and pounded on the issue of violence. >> of course we're capable. i'm carrying a pistol. i go to the gym all time.
i'm trying to make myself more capable of violence. i'm here to spread ideas, talk, in the hope that's somebody more capable will come along and do that. >> i'm sarah we did not initiate force. we're not nonviolent. we'll kill these people if we have to. >> language like that is obviously offensive and outrageous and highly alarming. there was one thing that brought that white nationalist tough guy to tears. that's next.
a participant who gave a tough talking interview was on a somewhat different mindset when he posted a video saturday after he says he learn that had there was a warrant out for his arrest. >> there is a state of emergency, the national guard is here. i think it is a good idea for me to go there, frankly. and i don't know had a to do. i've interviewed the police department. sorry. what option dozen we have left? if somebody would like to inform me of that, then i will be grateful to you. i really will.
>> he's so sad. it raises the question, who exactly are these people? a roving correspondent writes, they like to think of themselves as alpha males, a though they were living in a chimpanzee group. it never occurs to them to consider their own status as rejects and failed men in that context. kurt, this was pretty hilarious. he said what do these angry white guys wanted? they want girlfriends. they can't get they will. is that what the animating thing bringing these alt right guys together? it doesn't seal to be actual tough know. >> no. i think i think a cast of social losers who have been ostracized, and they're very frustrated. instead of looking inward at some issues that they probably
have, it is. easier and convenient for them to bands together, blame the rest of the world for why they're not as successful or popular as they think they should be. they come together and feed off one another and find a sense of purpose. in a lot of ways, it is why a lot of folks join gangs. never find a sense of purpose and meaning which they didn't have before. that's what you're seeing with these communities. they're the ones who feel ostracized and along the way comes bright b.a.r.t. and president trump to tell them, you're right. these people are to blame. it is not your fault. there are huge injustices and it is right that you feel this way. >> of course, cowards can still be dangerous. we've seen from columbine and dylan roof.
it is interesting that when confronted one-on-one, they're not nearly as dangerous behind a car when they can plow into a bunk of people. who is a bunch of alt righters who came in for the march but wasn't down for the confrontation. take a look. [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> i'm not really -- >> the swiftness with which he took off his costume as the kralmen so amountly said and no, no, i'm not one of them. are they just it for the fun but who may not believe the ideology? >> there's no question. a lot of these, frankly younger kids have no idea what they're getting themselves into. they have no idea what these people actually stand for. they're w idealogs.
they want to be part of the confrontation and the attention. they think it will be all over snap chat or instagram. it is a moment to be a part of. it sounds glamorous until you're there. then they're the very first to flee. >> and they should know what they're dealing with when they saw the poster to come down, it was all nazi images, nazi gaend. and now that people know what they're about, the university of florida has cancelled the richard spencer event. have they shot themselves in the foot by being so braggadocious about being violent? >> i think we'll find out. in boston, they're having another gathering. whether or not what we saw last week in charlottesville will have an event, inspiring people to feel like it's okay to come out and showcase this kind of
hatred and vitriol. or whether people will say, i didn't realize it was this bad. time will tell. i fear the president's remarks and his reaction sends a signal that it is okay. you don't need to wear hoods or cover yourself up. you should be out there loud and proud. >> and also, you will be asked on twitter. that's another thing. thank you very much. appreciate your time. still ahead, which republicans are publicly rebuking the president for his charlottesville comments and which are hiding amongst the bushes? coming up. and some words from the man being recognized more and more in thing one, thing two next.
people can learn about reverend king, so many other things, frederick dous las is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more. >> suffice it to say, those comments raised a few eyebrows and had reporters struggling to get clarification about trump's present tense comments about a man who has been dead since 1995. >> he made the comment about frederick douglas being recognized more and more. do you have any idea what he was referring to? >> i think there's contributions, i think he wants to highlight the contributions that he has made. and through the statements he'll make, the contributions will become more and more. >> remarkably enough, the trump comments yesterday highlighted new contribution from frederick douglas.
and it was republished this morning how to deal with a treacherous president who stood in the way. at the time it was first published, the president was andrew johnson who was sim that a athleticic to the confederate states. douglass's advice to congress was whatever may be tolerated, no republic is safe. the tolerance of prift class, or denies to any of its citizens equal rights and equal means to maintain them. the constitution of the united states amongst the distinction on citizens on account of color. if the constitution knows non, it is clearly no part of the duty of a republican congress now to institute one.
i do absolutely disavow those comments. i think they're wrong. i don't think they're right headed and think thing is something i don't even personally relate to. >> that was probably the high point of house speaker paul ryan's toughness when it comes to donald trump. it came last june after then candidate trump attacked candidate judge overseeing the university case because of his mexican heritage. you will recall trump lost that case. as trump continued his political ascent, a funny thing happened to paul ryan's outrage. he seemed to lose interest in criticizing trump. >> he accused the president of treason. >> i heard about it. i'm a little busy. i don't read everything he says every day. >> donald trump is now standing by. >> do you think i'm going to comment on every tweet? i've been busy today.
i heard about this second amendment quote. it sounds like joke gone bad. >> trump tweeted in the last week or so that he had actually won the popular vote if you deduct the millions who voted illegally. do you believe that? >> i don't know. i'm not really focused on these things. >> the president is new at this. he is new to government. so he probably wasn't steeped in the long running protocols that establish the relationships between doj, fbi and white houses. he is just new to this. >> he's new. after trump's press conference statement, only he didn't mention the president. the house speaker is not the only republican shrinking from this historic test. the gop's continuing trump complicity right after this break.
i've come today with a very heavy heart. last night i couldn't sleep at all, because president trump, our president, has literally betrayed the conscience of our country. the very moral fabric in which we've made progress when it comes to race relations in america, he's failed us. >> that was republican strategist caldwell this morning speaking directly to the president's comments yesterday which he said betrayed the conscience of this country. a far stronger response in the top two republicans in congress, mitch mcconnell and paul ryan, both released statements claiming bigotry without condemning donald trump by name.
i'm going to start with you, because you were reacting to tears. the question on a lot of viewers' minds were, where were you all of last year? donald trump was making statements that offended people. he was trucking with the alt-right. he hired steve bannon. he's been doing this for quite a while. did you just miss it? >> no, i didn't miss anything, quite frankly. i'm not sure where the viewers have been. when donald trump said things that i agreed with, i so rightly criticized him. this wasn't something new. this situation which seeing in this press conference yesterday, i saw most of it live, and then i watched the entire thing over, i felt disgusted, saddened. it reminded me of conversations i had with my grandfather james williams who lived back in the south in helena, arkansas, who escaped helena, arkansas, because of the racism going on,
the klan activity, it brought me to tears. that's what i was thinking about when i heard that segment earlier today. >> steve bannon responding to donald trump's press conference, he said the democrats, the longer they talk about identity, i want to talk about racism every day. if the left is focused on race and identity and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the democrats. we know he made breitbart the home of the alt-right. knowing he and bannon were on the same team, did you vote for donald trump? >> my vote is always private. but moving on, though, i think that comment by steve bannon was pretty troubling. i don't see -- there's instances where democrats do bring up race, which for no purpose at all. it's just everything is about race. certainly that does occur. but in this scenario, this is right by put. this is about race. this is about a president who doesn't understand race relations in this country. this is a about a president who said there was some good people
among nazis and white supremacists. so when i hear that, i wonder, president trump, who are these good people you're referring to? because certainly good people don't pal around with white supremacists and nazis. if there are some folks that just want to hang around, then obviously they're racist people. so this situation i think is very different than some others that i've seen over the years. >> i'll throw it over to you, fernand, because you've been pretty tough on republicans who are not naming donald trump by name. even marco rubio who still stands with the president. do you think that public condemnation of bigotry is enough? >> not nearly enough, joy. if we can be honest with what happened yesterday, outside of the international shame and condemnation that donald trump brought to our nation, the shaming of our people and our country, what donald trump did yesterday was kill the republican party. whatever was left of any moral authority of the republican party, that they had, the
denouncing of this type of hate, donald trump killed it. and what exists today, 24 hours later, is not the republican party, it's the republic klan. the republic klan party. >> man, i didn't realize -- >> hold on. >> excuse me, sir. everybody who continues to be a part of this party, i have not seen one republican member of congress or the senate leave the party. i have not seen them switch parties. what we've seen is mealymouthed denunciations of racism, which every single american is on paper. but it's been a lot of cheap talk, and very little, joy, by way of real action. i have to say, i was really disappointed by former president bushs today, who have shown tremendous willingness to criticize many of the policies of president trump. but even in their statement today, appropriately denounced the racism, and they denounced the hate that donald trump's comments assuredly brought about to this country. they didn't call him out by name.
and if they as former ex-presidents, proud republicans, are unwilling to do it, who is unwilling to do it next? >> that is the question. can you remain in the party of donald trump as a person of color? >> first and foremost, i reject the comments of the other guest, i believe they were intellectually dishonest. there have been republicans all over who have condemned the comments of president trump. >> by name? >> in numerous instances -- yeah, john mccain. you want to talk about them? we can talk about a number of individuals that have done so. the truth of the matter is, the republican party is not a party of racists. certainly there are folks within the republican party just as there are in the democratic party that are racists, and those who support racism. but that is not the whole party. and i reject any idea that me as a black man from the south side of chicago would be a part of a party that is completely and totally racist. you just saw my commentary earlier today --
>> we're almost out of time. should donald trump be primaried? should he be primaried? >> that's an interm conversation the party must have. i think it's a conscience issue. i think there will probably be folks who jump up and try to primary the president. i don't know if they'll be successful. but that's something we'll have to see, in the years to come. >> fernand, would a primary against donald trump work? >> i don't think today, the latest numbers show even john kasich, one of the prominent would get crushed in a primary. this is the republic klan party that exists today. until we see patriots -- >> so similar to the democrats with institution -- >> hold on, one at a time. >> and denounce this president. not his words, denounce him by name. the president is the purveyor of hate. the president is the nation's number one national security threat because his words have opened a pandora's box that will
hurt americans. >> i wish we had more time. we have to end it here. thank you both. tonight, donald trump isolated a day after that jaw-dropping press conference. the president abruptly shutters two business councils after ceos told him they were exiting. plus in the wakes of charlesville, "the new york times" reports trump's lawyer john dowd today forwarded an e-mail containing praise for robert e. lee. a status report on general kelly's new job. the white house chief of staff reportedly frustrated and dismayed tonight just 17 days into his tenure as "the 11th hour" gets under way. good evening once again from our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 208 of the trump administration